The alcoholic is usually the identified patient in the family system but the entire family needs to change for all to recover. There is a great article on About.com providing 10 key actions a family member can do immediately to take care of themselves. The family system is like a dance, if one person starts dancing to a different beat, change inevitably occurs for all family members.
10 Things to Stop Doing if You Love an Alcoholic
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) advises people to ask specific questions when seeking addiction treatment. Among those questions is “How do 12-Step programs fit into drug addiction treatment?” Gaya Dowling, PhD, deputy chief of NIDA says, “NIDA considers 12-Step programs to be an important component of recovery, based on the research evidence.” She goes on to say they do “not categorize 12-Step programs in and of themselves as ‘treatment’ per se.”
Anyone who knows about treatment here at La Hacienda knows we have believed this, and have practiced it, for many, many years. We believe the 12-Steps are foundational in recovery but we also incorporate the body and mind components of recovery through our excellent clinical care. We’ve been doing it that way for most of our 40 years! It’s always great when science affirms what we have seen work for thousands of people.
Here is another great article on The Fix by Rachael Brownell, author of “Mommy Doesn’t Drink Here Anymore.” I have been sober a little over 9 years and I don’t have any children, however, my husband and I get asked all the time, “How will you keep your children from becoming alcoholic and addict?” The answer is I can’t. I love in the article where Rachel quotes her sponsor, “You are not your daughters Higher Power, my dear. They have a God and it isn’t you.”
If God decides to bless me with children I cannot control whether or not they are chemically dependent, but I can be an example of how wonderful a sober life can be. From what I have seen in the program, many children of men and women in recovery still become alcoholics and addicts, however, the difference is that many are brought to the solution early on by parents that are living in the Sunlight of the Spirit.
Michael Cox, LCDC, La Hacienda’s Family Program Director, has a few words of wisdom for families this time of year.
Graduating patients will determine for themselves if they are uncomfortable being at dinner with alcohol being served.
Family members can ask former patients if they believe they would be comfortable in the presence of others drinking.
Family members should not feel required to “manage” that decision for a former patient.
Former patients have numbers to call and people with sober holiday experience to call on for support.
Former patients should be able to say when they feel uncomfortable. If so they can leave the party or dinner when ready.
If people at a dinner become intoxicated it will not be a comfortable environment for alcoholics. Allow them to speak for themselves regarding the decision to disengage.
Transporting themselves to an event will allow them to disengage discreetly and when ready to do so.
Any environment with illegal drug use/abuse is strictly off limits.
Judy in our Store recommends the following literature for family members.
There are the people who took a trip through the doors of Alanon only to find they were an addict themselves! Anyway, we are out there and here is some good literature that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves.